I remember hearing words that described my part of a conversation with some of “my people”. They were nothing close to the way I had remembered it. It was as if the description was not of the same encounter at all. If it had not been for a third person who could serve as a witness, recalling what had actually transpired, I would have despaired over my “guilt” according to my accuser.
This has happened on at least two separate occasions with totally different people. Unfortunately, with the same end result.
Having the truth verified helped me process the accusations but at the same time, it left me utterly confused.
Why were “my people” against me and why wasn’t truth solving each misunderstanding?
The truth being established had not made a difference in how I was viewed from each person close to me. It did not make me innocent in their eyes. In both instances, even though there was a third person to validate my blamelessness, I was still viewed as guilty of wrongdoing. To this day, each of them continues to have animosity toward me.
Google defines “paradox” as such: a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.
When I read in Acts 5-6 about the Jewish people finding fault with what should have been obvious good, it shows me that my experience is just the tip of the iceberg. There are DEFINITELY going to be times when sound reasoning/logic does not prevail nor keep our people from viewing us as their enemy.
The Scriptural Precedence
Acts 5:12-18 offers an example.
12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.
Another example is found in Acts 6:8-9.
8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen.
As I read these two passages during my Bible study time, I get so frustrated. Anyone with one eye and half a lick of sense could tell that great gain was being accomplished for the Jewish people and yet, there were those who were against it regardless! As obvious as the scenes were playing out, some people refused the irrefutable truth and purposely chose to condemn without any shred of evidence.
Therein lies the paradox. It happened back then so why should I expect truthfulness to be the solution today.
Left to myself, I can think that if the right explanation was given, problems would be solved. If the truth was established, then accusations would be rescinded. But God’s Word teaches me otherwise.
As much as I value the truth, it is not always enough. My lesson is to learn to live in this tension. It is painful when those who should know you the best believe the worst about you. More than that, they WANT the worst to be true about you.It is painful when those who should know you the best, believe the worst about you. #rejection #mypeople #lovecanprevail Click To Tweet
It goes back to Jesus really. He foretold of moments such as these in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” If Jesus could not prove His innocence in regards toward others, His own people, then why would we not experience the disdain from some of our people?
The reality is this. We have no control over how others view us. We can be viewed as enemies whether we feel that way or not.
What doesn’t matter to them?
- Truth, facts
- Genuine intentions
If this is the case, then we need to let these go as what we depend upon. We won’t feel the need to fight for validation as much. Our peace will not depend upon being understood or accepted.
What doesn’t matter to God?
- Their lies about us – “I am not who you say I am.”
- Their accusations against us- “I have not done what you say I have done.”
These lessons should bring about our peace of mind, not our discouragement. Jesus was able to still love others no matter how they viewed Him. Therefore, we have hope, in spite of how unable we are to get our genuine intentions across to others.
What We Can Do In Response To Animosity
Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Tim. 2:22-26
As I have studied this recently, I am so encouraged by the hope I am finding with people I cannot change. With the acceptance of some of “my people” not loving me in return, I still have a number of positive actions at my disposal.
Just because others are held hostage by the enemy doesn’t mean we are! Love can prevail even as truth is subverted!7 Ways we can respond to animosity with love! #loveprevails #movingforward #freedom Click To Tweet
Ways To Move Forward In Love
- I may be your enemy but that doesn’t make you MY enemy.
- You may not be able to receive my love but I can love you anyway, from a distance.
- You may only have hostility toward me but I can still be kind to you.
- You may want to believe the worst about me but I can still give you my best.
- You may want my ruin but I can pray for your rescue.
- You may be antagonistic with me but I can still retain my peace.
- You may want to live in the past but I can move forward without you.
The Bible gives us the hope we need in order to respond to opposition. We are able to love others, as Jesus and the disciples evidenced, no matter how they feel about us. “Our people” may view us negatively but that in no way hinders us from loving them anyway.
By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:5
So let it begin with us…..